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Qualitative Research Design and Analysis


Selective perception can be a problem as you learn more about the topic ... Selective perception and memory. Selectivity in data collection ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Qualitative Research Design and Analysis

Qualitative Research Design and Analysis
  • Soc302b

  • Note
  • Free demos of Nudist, NVivo, XSight at
  • Enable researchers to study social and cultural
  • The methods are designed to help researchers
    understand people and the social and cultural
  • Can combine one or more research methods in one
    study (called triangulation)

Distinctions between Quantitative and Qualitative
  • objective versus subjective
  • nomothetic versus idiographic
  • etic versus emic perspective

  • A way of building an understanding the culture
    and behaviours of a group as a whole.
  • Done in a setting or field site where a group of
    people share a common culture.
  • In sociology, ethnography usually called a field
  • Uses
  • Participant Observation
  • Interviews with Informants
  • Examination of documents and cultural artifacts

  • The study of commonsense knowledge
  • How do individuals make sense of social
    situations and act on their knowledge?
  • What are the tacit rules used by members of a
  • Detailed studies of interactions
  • Breeching experiments (Garfinkel)
  • To uncover hidden norms

The Case Study Approach
  • To try to develop an understanding of a social
    process by studying one case or a small number of
    cases in depth
  • Can be done using a combination of intensive
    interviewing and observation
  • Snapshot case studies
  • Longitudinal case studies
  • Pre-post case studies
  • Patchwork case studies
  • Comparative case studies.

Construct Validity in Case Studies
  • Problematic because of investigator subjectivity
  • Can counteract by
  • using multiple sources of evidence,
  • establishing a chain of evidence,
  • and having a draft case study report reviewed by
    key informants (Yin, 1994)

Analyzing Case Study Evidence
  • Techniques not well developed
  • Some researchers use quantitative strategies
  • analytic techniques such as creating arrays
  • placing the evidence in a matrix of categories
  • creating flowcharts or data displays
  • tabulating the frequency of different events,
  • using means, variances and cross tabulations to
    examine the relationships between variables
  • and other such techniques to facilitate analysis
  • Pattern-matching another major mode of analysis
    (based on Webers ideal types)

Phenomenological Study
  • Understanding an experience from a research
    participant's point of view
  • Interview several participants as to their
    perceptions of an experience
  • Try to build a picture of the experience through
    using a combination of theories, literature in
    the area, illustrated by anecdotes, to build a
    detailed portrait of the experience
  • Use of Max Webers verstehen

Data Collection Methods Used in Qualitative
  • Qualitative research methodology includes
  • Intensive interviewing
  • Participant observation and non-participant

Asking Questions The Intensive Interview in
Qualitative Research
  • Types of qualitative interviews
  • Structured
  • Semistructured
  • Depth
  • Field research most often uses unstructured
  • The use of probes is important in field research

Conducting interviews
  • Try to be interactive and sensitive to the
    language and concepts used by the interviewee
  • Try to keep the agenda flexible
  • Aim to go below the surface of the topic being
  • Explore what people say in detail
  • Check you have understood respondents' meanings
  • Try to discover the interviewee's own framework
    of meanings
  • Avoid imposing own structures and assumptions
  • Need to consider how perceived by interviewees
    and the effects of characteristics such as class,
    race, sex, and social distance on the interview

Types of questions for qualitative interviews
  • Behaviour or experience
  • Opinion or belief
  • Feelings
  • Knowledge
  • Sensory
  • Background or demographic

Recording interviews
  • Notes written at the time
  • Notes written afterwards
  • Audio or videotaping

Researcher as research instrument
  • Qualitative interviews require considerable skill
    on the part of the interviewer.
  • The interviewer needs to notice how directive he
    or she is being
  • Whether leading questions are being asked whether
    cues are picked up or ignored
  • Whether interviewees are given enough time to
    explain what they mean

Whytes Directiveness Scale
  • 1. Making encouraging noises
  • 2. Reflecting on remarks made by the informant
  • 3. Probing on the last remark by the informant
  • 4. Probing an idea preceding the last remark by
    the informant
  • 5. Probing an idea expressed earlier in the
  • 6. Introducing a new topic
  • (1least directive, 6most directive)

Maintaining control of the interview
  • Know what it is you want to find out
  • Ask the right questions to get the information
    you need
  • Give appropriate verbal and non-verbal feedback
  • Good feedback vs. bad feedback
  • Avoiding bias

Bracketing Your Biases
  • First, make a list of your characteristics
  • 1. your gender
  • 2. your age
  • 3. your ethnic or national
  • 4. your religion or philosophy of life
  • 5. your political party or orientation
  • 6. your favourite psychological theory.
  • Add four more characteristics words or phrases
    that are descriptive of you as an individual.

Bracketing (cont.)
  • 1. List ways in which your characteristics might
    bias you in your efforts at research
  • 2. Then write how you might counteract these
  • 3. And then write how these efforts to
    counteract your biases might themselves lead to
    other biases!

Participant and Non-Participant Observation in
Field Research
  • Preparing for the field
  • 1. Background preparation and literature review
  • 2. Talking to informants
  • 3. Gaining entry into the group
  • Gatekeepers
  • Public vs. private settings

The Various Roles of the Observer (Raymond Golds
levels, 1983)
  • A. Complete participant
  • B. Participant-as-observer
  • C. Observer-as-participant
  • D. Complete observer

Recording observations
  • Field journal
  • To record empirical data
  • To record interpretations
  • Guidelines for note taking
  • Don't trust your memory
  • Take notes in stages
  • Record everything

Organizing and Writing Notes
  • Make simple jotted notes at time of observation
  • Rewrite your notes in full as soon as possible
    after making observations
  • Best to do this on computer, using word processor

Notes (cont.)
  • Creating files helps organize field notes for
  • a. Chronological file as a master file.
  • b. Background files (from literature review, and
    documentation of topic's history.)
  • c. Biographical files on key subjects in the
  • d. Bibliographical files of all references
    related to study.
  • e. Analytical files to categorize what you are
  • f. Cross-reference files may be useful to
    retrieve data.

Using computers in field research
  • some software programs (i.e. NVivo) are now
    available for field research notes
  • Can save time, especially when analyzing data
  • But can use Word, Word Perfect too

Data analysis in field work
  • Data analysis in field work is an ongoing process
  • Constant interaction between data collection and
    data analysis.
  • Look for
  • Similarities, norms, and universals
  • Dissimilarities, differences, and deviations from
  • Selective perception can be a problem as you
    learn more about the topic

Disadvantages of field research
  • Time consuming
  • Not applicable to the investigation of large
    social settings
  • Low internal validity (lack of control)
  • Biases, attitudes, and assumptions of the
    researcher can be problem
  • Selective perception and memory
  • Selectivity in data collection
  • Presence of the researcher may change the system
    or group being studied
  • Virtually impossible to replicate the findings

Advantages of field research
  • High external validity
  • Can study nonverbal behaviour
  • Flexibility
  • Natural environment
  • Longitudinal analysis
  • Relatively inexpensive

Grounded Theory Study
  • Theories are empirically grounded into the data.
  • Data collection and analysis are combined.
  • Cycle observe data, modify theory, observe data
    based on theory
  • An inductive theory building process
  • Developed 1960s by Barney Glaser, Anselm Strauss
  • Used for clinical sociology
  • An important methodological breakthrough
  • Defn The systematic generation of theory from
  • is an experiential methodology

Grounded Theory (cont.)
  • Main assumptions
  • Social life integrated and patterned
  • All actions integrated with other actions
  • Can discover pattern categories within which the
    action is integrated
  • All social action is multivariate
  • Inductive vs. deductive is an oversimplification
    of complex thinking processes (i.e. thinking up
    hypotheses actually an inductive process)

Content Analysis
  • A technique used to study written material by
    breaking it into meaningful units, using
    carefully applied rules.
  • Use objective and systematic coding to produce a
    quantitative description of the observed
  • Can analyze common myths
  • Can also be used in a qualitative way
  • Employ semiotic techniques

Erving Goffmans Gender Advertisements (1979,
  • Goffman combined content with semiotic
    analysis to look at how gender was (and still
    is!) portrayed in advertising. In his analysis,
    Goffman examined a selection of advertising
    images and found that that women are consistently
    shown in subordinated positions compared to men
    in a variety of social situations. He also
    concluded that advertising both reflects and
    helps shape our concept of what it means to be
    masculine or feminine in our culture.

Content Analysis (cont.)
  • What can be studied
  • Any written material
  • Audio/visual information
  • Useful for 3 types of research
  • Problems involving a large volume of text
  • Research from afar or in the past
  • Revealing themes difficult to see with casual

Coding in a content analysis
  • What gets counted?
  • What is important for understanding themes?
  • Structured observation systematic observation
    based on careful rules
  • Coding systems
  • Before you decide specifically on coding
    categories, you must specify what you are going
    to measure
  • A set of rules on how to systematically observe
    and record content from text.
  • What is the unit of analysis?
  • One word
  • One paragraph
  • One theme

Manifest and Latent Content
  • Manifest
  • Overt or visible material can count
  • Latent
  • Symbolic content uncovered by semantic analysis
    needs to be coded first (inductive process) and
    then counted
  • Can use both deductive and inductive approaches
    to find categories (codes) for content analysis
  • Divide sample in sections
  • Use grounded theory on a smaller portion to
    develop categories
  • Use those categories on the rest of the sample.

Deductive and Inductive Category Formation
  • Deductive
  • Reasoning from the general to the specific
  • Forming categories to score based on theoretical
  • Inductive category formation
  • Reason from the specific to the general
  • Come up with categories from data
  • Can obtain categories by using grounded theory

Analyzing Qualitative Data
  • 1. Read through your data and identify themes.
  • 2. Identify important sub-themes.
  • 3. Ensure consistency in the themes.
  • 4. Confirm depth of themes.
  • 5. Assign codes.

Coding (Corbin and Strauss, 1990)
  • 3 stages of analysis in coding
  • 1. Open coding Find conceptual categories in the
  • 2. Axial coding Look at relationship between the
  • 3. Selective coding To account for
    relationships, find core categories.

Method of Constant Comparison (Strauss)
  • Look for indicators of categories in events and
    behavior - name them and code them on document(s)
  • Compare codes to find consistencies and
  • Consistencies between codes (similar meanings or
    pointing to a basic idea) reveals categories. So
    need to categorize specific events
  • Create memos on the comparisons and emerging
  • Eventually category saturates when no new codes
    related to it are formed
  • Certain categories become more central focus -
    axial categories and perhaps even core category.

Analytic Induction (Znaniecki, Becker, and Katz)
  • Look at event and develop a hypothetical
    statement of what happened.
  • Look at another similar event and see if it fits
    the hypothesis. If it doesn't, revise hypothesis.
  • Look for exceptions to hypothesis, when find it,
    revise hypothesis to fit all examples
  • Eventually will develop a hypotheses that
    accounts for all observed cases.
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